Eva M. Moya PhD LMSW, Silvia M. Chavez-Baray PhD, Maria Torres-Sajquim PhD , Jorge Gardea-Torresday PhD, Omar Martínez JD MPA MA, Ethan Czuy Levine, Desiree M. Quintana
Eva Margarita Moya, In Pursuit of Safe Drinking Water in the Border Region: A Matter of Social Justice(2017)SDRP Journal of Earth Sciences & Environmental Studies 2(1)
Abstract The U.S.-Mexico border is populated by resilient families and characterized by environmental, social, economic, cultural, and epidemiologic inequalities. Person-in-environment perspectives and the need to embrace a new concept of environment to improve well-being of individuals and eradicate social conditions that undermine health are vital. One of the most innovative and promising mechanisms to improve water safety in underserved communities is the use of nanotechnology devices. The manuscript exposes the water scarcity, contamination and the health and social impacts in the Southwest border region and explores the use of Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) devices an alternative for water purification. These technologies will be portable, use less water treatment chemicals (i.e., chlorine) and electricity by employing nanophotonics for processes such as solar desalination. Nanotechnology seems to have the potential to address some of the pressing water safety and environmental needs. Caution, however, should be used when implementing nanotechnology especially when done with members of vulnerable communities. Community-engagement is crucial to inform scientists and researchers about the community needs through the use of community-based participatory action research methods like focus groups, in-depth interviews and forums. The NEWT Project is an interdisciplinary, multi-institution nanosytems-engineering research center, consisting of an interdisciplinary research team of engineers, chemists, psychologists, social workers and community partners.